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'WorthPlaying's Top Games of 2006' - Handhelds

by Rainier on Dec. 29, 2006 @ 12:22 p.m. PST

Yesterday we revealed the honorable mentions, and today we're announcing the top handheld titles. Check us out tomorrow for the top console/PC offerings. Once that's out of the way, we'll start the countdown of the top 20 titles, including what WP considers to be the best game of 2006. Read more for the final results!


5. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin

All in all, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is short, fairly slapdash and kind of easy, but this doesn't stop it from being a worthy addition to a fantastic franchise. With multiple play modes, a number of interesting bosses and all the fun that comes from the Castlevania franchise, those with a DS are strongly encouraged to pick up this newest edition. Those who've never played a Castlevania title may feel a little lost but should be able to grasp the mechanics – if not the plot – quickly.

4. Elite Beat Agents

Elite Beat Agents is an endearing game, full of humor that's impossible not to laugh at, and music that's impossible not to tap your toes to. The fact that said music and said humor is now American instead of Japanese does not detract from the gameplay quality in any way, shape or form.

3. Final Fantasy III

Final Fantasy III is a title for hardcore gamers – those who've been playing Final Fantasy since the days of the NES and have been looking for a nostalgia trip. Final Fantasy games never disappoint in the music department, and Final Fantasy III is no exception.

2. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is an extremely enjoyable, funny, and lengthy outing that is suitable for everyone. It might be a bit easy for seasoned gamers, but if you're a fan of fun, you shouldn't pass this one up. The dialogue and humor and love that were obviously injected into this title should be experienced by everyone. If you have any friends who own a DS, convince them to get this game, and you'll have a blast with the multiplayer tank battles.

1. New Super Mario Bros.

This fast-paced adventure will have Mario fans cheering as they make their way over fields, under water, through castles and into the air. New and familiar enemies are everywhere, not to mention mind-blowing challenges made possible by the dual screens of the NDS, and also wireless multiplayer with a friend.


5. Yggdra Union

Ruled by a royal family said to be descendants of the gods themselves, Fantasinia is a prosperous and peaceful land - until the peace is shattered by the invading forces of the Empire of Bronkia. Amidst the chaos, a young woman escapes from the besieged capital of Partina – a woman with innocence in her face, and a sword in her hand. The girl's name is Princess Yggdra, the last surviving member of the royal family; the sword is the Gran Centurio, a legendary blade once wielded by the founder of Fantasinia, and passed down through generations of royalty.

4. Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis

Navigate through loop-de-loops of Green Hill Zone, zoom past waterfalls, and dash over molten lava at Sonic's trademark super speedy pace while collecting gold rings. In celebration of Sonic's 15th birthday, Sonic The Hedgehog Genesis includes a special anniversary mode, in which players will be able to use Sonic's Spin Dash ability to get them out of dangerous situations.

3. Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation

"The Tokyo Manifest" revealed the existence of extraterrestrials who posed a threat to the survival of mankind. President Midcrid has since announced a plan to rebuild and rearm, asking for solidarity among all the inhabitants of Earth. In the name of the project, he began to fortify the planet by developing and mass-producing new humanoid mechs, but trouble now lurks in the shadows ....

2. Final Fantasy V Advance

For the longest time, Final Fantasy V was the black sheep of the family. Skipped over and poorly ported, few gamers were willing to give this forgotten gem the time of day. With a robust and varied Job system that adds countless customization options, new dungeons and Jobs, and the portability of a handheld, Final Fantasy V is sure to keep even series veterans busy. While far from perfect and showing clear signs of its age, Final Fantasy V Advance is a worthy addition to any gamer's library.

1. Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation 2

Fairly long at over 40 scenarios, the title also offers a choice of path splits, and three different difficulty modes. Even after you're done, it can be a fun experience to try a new team or to get a missing skill point. The plotline may be a bit confusing, but the gameplay makes it a must-have for any collection.


5. Megaman Maverick Hunter X

Vile is unlocked as a playable character after finishing the game on normal, and while it's a slightly changed version, it isn't as radical as the remixed stages in Megaman Powered-Up. The difficulty gets extremely tough in the harder difficulties of Megaman Maverick Hunter X, though, so there is quite a bit of mileage for even the best Megaman players. This is the definitive Megaman X game.

4. Killzone: Liberation

The graphics and sound in Killzone: Liberation are next to none when it comes to environment, character design, and the realism of gunfire and grenade explosions. Perhaps the most exciting feature available will be the massive multiplayer options and game modes. This is a must-own title.

3. Metal Gear Ac!d 2

Metal Gear Ac!d 2 is a great strategy game, and its gameplay keeps the Metal Gear spirit close to heart, despite radical differences. MGS fan or not, this is much better than the first, although it will probably be the last, given poor initial sales and the canonized, non-Acid Metal Gear for PSP, which seems to be coming later this fall. Don't wait for that game, as wonderful as it sounds; experience something completely different now.

2. Locoroco

LocoRoco is a stunning achievement in modern gaming. It is entirely in 2D and uses only three buttons, but it is one of the best games available on the PSP. Most shocking of all is the fact that it came from Sony, the same company that shunned 2D games on their console systems. Granted, the silly visuals and joyous songs would all be for naught if the gameplay didn't match up; such is not the case, luckily. Eighteen months after its launch, the PSP finally has a fantastic original franchise not named Lumines. Pick it up, sing along, and enjoy the first great game of the fall.

1. Daxter

For fans of long-running series, every new installment arrives with some fear that perhaps the time has finally come when a favorite character's career will hit the skids. With such deep variety of familiar but accomplished gameplay, and visuals that are always immersive and frequently arresting, Daxter easily leaps ahead of the PSP platformer pack to put such concerns to rest. It's an often-thrilling example of what careful attention to level design, world creation and a mostly respectable treatment of your protagonist can do for the most well-worn of genres.

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